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Monday, 23 April 2007

China Factory Chinese Kitchen...in South Korea

We've started to explore the different varieties and styles of Chinese food in Korea, trying to venture away from sweet and sour pork. Recently there was a new Chinese restaurant that opened up near Omokgyo station right across the street from the Hyundai Department Store. The name of this place is called the China Factory Chinese Kitchen.

Now, when I think of a China factory the first thing that comes to my mind is a bunch of Chinese workers manufacturing consumer and electronic goods for the world market. There's a reason why this place is called the China Factory Chinese Kitchen--it's because you take on the role of the worker and create your own dinner by choosing from a variety of dishes, minus the long hours and low wages, and the fact that you're paying to do this. Let's get on with the review, shall we?

Approaching the China Factory Chinese Kitchen you immediately get a sense of the decor and ambiance that they've created. The waiting area is secluded from the dining area via an automatic sliding door. This helps create a pleasant dining experience--as opposed to places where you can see people waiting for a table giving you the evil eye to finish up and leave!

They had a lot of these terracotta soldiers standing guard throughout the entire restaurant:

I mentioned how we would be the brains behind our dinner since we both had to choose dishes for dinner. We had a choice of three dishes each, access to their unlimited dim sum bar, plus dessert. They had various seafood dishes, so if you are a big fan then this place might be for you. Here are pictures of the menu to give you an idea of what we had to choose from:

What's that? You can't decide because you tend to over-analyze things in life? Well, you can always choose from one of their combination dinners:

Alright, that was tough but we managed to get through it. Ordering is pretty easy if you can't speak Korean. Just tick off the numbers on the provided sheet and away you go!

First up, how about some dim sum to start our meal? I went to the dim sum bar and got us a sample of each variety:

The selection here was limited (it definitely was not a mega dim sum of over 100 dishes), but if you're also ordering multiple dishes with dinner, how much dim sum can you really eat? To the cook on the left, smile, because you've made it onto the internet!

The first dish was their stir fried seafood and scallop dish. It has been a long time coming since we have experienced a stir fry dish that resembled Chinese food from back home! It was pretty tasty and had a good selection of shrimp, scallops, squid, clams, and mixed veggies:

For our second dish we had the Sichuan (Szechuan) style spicy grilled shrimp with stir fried spinach. These shrimp were more like tiger prawns. Again, we were happy with this dish and it tasted fantastic. What was the best part of the dish you ask...?

...sucking the guts and juice out of the prawn's head of course (my dad would be proud of me right about now)! MMmmm....deelicious!

This was probably my favorite dish out of all. It was their tenderloin stir fry with black bean sauce and mushrooms. The beef was so tender it literally melted in our mouths. One side note was the dish came lukewarm which I found very odd. I soon realized as we were leaving why it wasn't piping hot. They have a conveyor belt system that transfers dishes from one side of the kitchen to the other. The belt is so long even boiling water won't make it to the end of the line without going cold!

Next up, we had their Sichuan style clear noodle soup (it was spicy) and mixed stir fried rice with shrimp:

Right about now we were getting stuffed, but I was determined to keep going. A little loosening of the belt and I was back in action, baby. Here we have their original hot and sweet fried chicken. It tasted like sweet and sour chicken and was very good too:

*Burp*...excuse me, but here we will move onto the dessert portion. A simple fruit plate consisting of half a banana, previously frozen lychees, pineapple, and these tiny tart flavored mandarin-like oranges (someone help me out here!):

It doesn't end there, you get a choice of "coppee" or ice cream...we went with the ice cream:

Wow, looking back that was a lot of food for two people. The price for dinner was 22,800w ($24USD) each, not including a 10% VAT (Value Added Tax) which is an auto gratuity added to the bill (there is no tipping in South Korea!). For the money spent, we enjoyed a satisfying meal in a pleasant dining atmosphere. How to get there? The China Factory Chinese Kitchen is located beside Cold Stone Creamery by the Mokdong Megabox and across from the SkyView 41 building.


annamatic said...

hmmm... maybe i shouldn't give up on finding real chinese food in korea just yet... sounds like this might be worth a shot. Have you tried Din Tai Fung in Myeongdong yet? They aren't half bad. But stay away from Mr. Chow's....

Anonymous said...

where's the fortune cookies???

Gary said...

annamatic: I haven't tried Din Tai Fung in Myeongdong yet. Whereabouts is it there?

anthony: haha...I haven't eaten a fortune cookie in a long time. I can't even remember what they taste like.

ZenKimchi said...

There's also one down the road from Indeogwon Station in Anyang. I haven't been there yet, but I have been planning to. My friends swear by it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gdog,

The little orange fruits are called kumquots. My grandmother used to have a small tree of the little fruits back home in Texas. They sell them all over the place here in Daejeon for about 3000 won a kilo.

BTW, I still watch The Simpsons religiously. Sometimes the politics are a little heavy handed, but it's still amusing and comforting in an odd way.

imoet said...

I am a big fan of chinese food. I went to china town in incheon last year and was so dissapointed with the food there. it's so koreanized chinese food. they even served it with kimchi.

Last weekend we went to Seoul and had chinese food at a restaurant named KOngulki, nearby COEX. The food was superb, but the price was not pocket friendly. We ordered 4 kinds of food (from the cheapest pages :p), and total bill was like 83,000 won. I wonder if there's china factory in incheon :D

Anonymous said...

Sorry GDog,

The fruits are actually spelled as Kumquats. Dang google spell checker.


Anonymous said...

Ramona Cordova (US) @ DRUG / April 27th Friday - 11.00 pm

Please come!!!

annamatic said...

Here's the map for Din Tai Fung. It's Taiwanese style food. Well... Taiwanese-Korean, but still very good.


BTW, here's another place in Myeongdong, but paying 13,000W for cha-siu hurts...


Gary said...

annamatic: Awesome, thanks for the links! The pictures on the website are making me drool. Haha, 13,000w for cha-siu is highway robbery--I don't know if I miss it that much! ;)

John: thanks for the links. I am aware of kumquats but I have never eaten them straight off the tree. My grandma usually has them in a jar at home just like that wikipedia entry explained. ;)

Zenkimchi: go there already, the food was awesome!!

Lazy Cook Easy Recipes said...

YUM!!!!!!! :D

Anonymous said...

Out of the types of Chinese food that I've had, Korean Chinese food ranks at the top! I've had Scottish Chinese food, French Chinese food, American Chinese food, Vietnamese/Thai Chinese food, and Japanese Chinese food...granted I haven't had "real" Chinese food, but I LOOOOVE Korean Chinese food! YUM!

Anonymous said...

I love Chinese food. But I can't seem to find a good place in Korea. I've been dimsum hunting for about 3 months now and the 4 places I've gone, haven't met my needs. I'll probably try this place out because I really need my fix. The places in the comments will also be in the next 5 places I go to eat.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone posted about the small orangey things but they're call kumquats (sp?) (literally pronounced cum-qwats... funny name but I remember them from a grocery store back home)

Anonymous said...

imoet: they eat kimchi in china too >.>;;

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